Butterfly Valley: Steep side of Heaven
by Recep Peker Tanıtkan
A steep climb away from the Sea, over rocks and between pine trees. The valley closes in. Everything is still and yet not still. The stones, the logs, the leaves - all seem to shimmer. But the sound of a voice or any sudden movement is enough to break the spell. The butterflies which created the illusion start into the air, billions of tiny wings cover the sky, and a great shadow appears on the valley. Then slowly they settle again on their invisible perches.
Kelebekler Vadisi, the Valley of Butterflies, is one of Fethiyes most remarkable attractions. But it is not an easy climb. A half-hour journey by privately-rented boat or sea-dolmuş from the resort of Ölüdeniz takes you to the sandy bay known locally as Ködürümsü Harbour. The valley extends upwards from here towards the 2,000-metre peak of Babadağ. One footpath takes the route towards the waterfalls, the other makes for the village of Faralya.
The road to the village is so steep that in some parts it can only be climbed with the aid of a rope. Those fit and experienced enough to complete the climb are rewarded with idyllic scenes. Follow the signs for George House for some well-deserved village cooking served with yayık ayranı (the well-known yoghurt drink, prepared in a churn).
The path to the first waterfall, on the other hand, is suitable for all. Those who are sufficiently confident, and cannot resist to the extraordinary call of the valley, continue climbing from there until they set eyes on the extraordinary insect mass. There are around forty varieties, most plentiful in the spring, but observable for nine or ten months a year.
The entire zone has been a first-degree conversation area since February 8, 1995, and construction work of any kind is off limits. There is no accommodation on the beach, although you may pitch a tent here or simply sleep under the arbours of bushes and leaves, on terraces set up between the branches of trees. A country restaurant is set up on the beach in summer, and the operators of the restaurant will provide tips and directions for your conquest of the valley. Break your sea journey over from Ölüdeniz at the blue cave, and swim among the deep blue-green reflections, or rather let them swim over you.
(DIPLOMAT - August 2005 - Ankara)